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John Frederick Kensett

Standing Artist
about 1845
pencil and watercolor
11 1/4 x 8 5/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase

This engaging portrait of a young artist with his art materials strapped to his back recalls the two summers in the mid-1840s when John Frederick Kensett, one of the leading painters of the Hudson River School, made walking tours of the Italian countryside. Dressed in sturdy shoes, leggings, and hat, the artist is well prepared for hiking. His knapsack, sketch umbrella, sketchbook, and mahlstick, which doubles as a walking stick, indicate that he is prepared to work outdoors.